This interesting and distinguished surname is English, but arguably of Dutch, Flemish and Frisian origins. It derives from Thewys or Thees, nickname forms of the ancient pre 9th century male given name Mathiess, itself ultimately from the Hebrew Matityahu, meaning "A gift of God". Recorded in the Greek New Testament it was taken into the Roman (Latin) as both Matthias and Matthaeus, the former being used for the apostle, and the latter for the evangelist. The subsequent popularity of the name gave rise to a variety of forms including: Thiese, Diess, Theuss, Deuss, D'Ewes, Dews, Dewes, Tewes and Thews. The surname was initially introduced into England by Flemish weavers, brought over by Edward 111rd (1327 - 1377), to aid in the development of the British textile industry. Many of these weavers settled in the Cotswolds, and their colony was greatly strengthened by Huguenot Protestant refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Notable bearers of the name include: Geerardt Dewes (deceased 1591), a painter, descended from the ancient lords of Kessel in Guelderland (East Netherlands); and Sir Simonds D'Ewes (1602 - 1650), barrister of the Middle Temple, 1623, and high Sheriff for Suffolk, 1639. Giles Dews, was librarian to King Henry V11, in the year 1509. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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